Editor's note: CMT Crossroads: OneRepublic and Dierks Bentley premieres Friday (March 21) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Before taking the stage to tape CMT Crossroads: OneRepublic and Dierks Bentley, Bentley and band frontman Ryan Tedder were excited about finding the right musical combination for the all-star night of music.
"I love the CMT Crossroads series," Bentley told CMT Hot 20 Countdown. "I think it's a really cool idea of mixing different people from different backgrounds and influences together. [It's] something I've always wanted to do, but only if the right thing came up. There's no point in doing it if it doesn't really benefit the music, you know? It can be cool, but it can also really clash and not benefit us -- or even our fans -- so I kind of held off for a long time and stopped pursuing it.
"When I heard from my manager that this was a possibility ... it's so funny because usually everything in this town, you have to work so hard to attain, it's a grind. And for something like this to happen so easily in such a short period of time, is so not Nashville. But I'll take it because I feel like I've paid my dues. [There have been] plenty of bumps along the way in other areas of my career."
The concert special will include show-stopping renditions of their hit songs, including "Counting Stars" and "Up on the Ridge."
"His music's being smothered with great banjo and fiddle, mandolin, steel, slide mandolin, and then those guys are playing our songs," said Bentley. "I really feel like it's a true mash-up between me and OneRepublic. It's all guys on deck. We've got two drummers up there. Our drummers are already like best friends. We got them together for one song to play ..."
"Your Chicago moment," joked Tedder.
"So they play one song together, and we looked back like three songs later, and they're back there still," Bentley said.
"So we've got two drummers," Tedder said. "It's gonna be a trip."
"These guys are getting ready to go to Europe in, like, two days," Bentley said at the taping. "And when rock bands tour, they're gone for months at a time. So this is really a lot of things coming together just at the right time to make this happen. I feel like this whole Crossroads experience has been a meant-to-be kind of thing."
In an interview airing live Thursday on CMT Radio Live and CMT After MidNite, Tedder told host Cody Alan he would love to write songs with Bentley in the future.
"In the next 24 hours, I don't think they're giving us 24 minutes," he says. "But yeah, I think it'd be cool if we did something beyond just this."
Tune in to CMT Crossroads: OneRepublic and Dierks Bentley Friday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, then catch CMT Hot 20 Countdown Saturday and Sunday (March 22-23) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.